Friday, December 12, 2014


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CIA Saved Lives Created due to the Senate Select Committee's "Torture Report", which many feel is one-sided and unprofessionally prepared. True, many documents are quoted, but it lacks the human element. Not one CIA operative was interviewed or consulted by the committee.
Spy Talk- Intelligence for thinking people. JEFF STEIN is a Washington-based editor and investigative reporter of long standing, specializing in U.S. intelligence, defense and foreign policy.
The Peninsula Qatar and ME peninsula happenings.
DW works independently to present events and developments in Germany and the world and picks up on German and other points of view on important issues.
Afghanistan Analysts Network Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) is an independent non-profit policy research organisation. It aims to bring together the knowledge, experience and drive of a large number of experts to better inform policy and to increase the understanding of Afghan realities.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online Spy series, "Corey Pearson, CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Reach him on the Secure Contact Form


     I was amazed at the recent media blitz accusations that the FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) are spying on American cell phone usage, while the word Echelon remains inaudible.
     By the time you finished reading the short paragraph above, Echelon intercepted more than 70,000 phone calls, e-mails, and faxes across America. It does, indeed, exist inside the NSA...and I'm glad it does. I believe this global surveillance system, which has been operating for decades, is necessary to effectively combat terrorism. To demonstrate how this vast system works, I wrote a not-so "fictional" account of Stacey and her work inside NSA's Echelon surveillance system.

Echelon- The Most Secret Spy System

     Ironically, conservative and liberal politicians along the beltway are in favor of the NSA and FBI (CIA is also involved) recording cell phone and computer usage among Americans. Of course, they never mentioned the word "Echelon", but rest assured, they all are aware of its existence and that it is the most pervasive global eavesdropping network in history. Today, Echelon will capture three billion electronic communications.

Read Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean and get to know Corey and how the CIA works. First 3 episodes are free!

     So, let me introduce "Stacey" who works inside the NSA. To many within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), the near future is impossible to accurately predict since global terrorism behavior is so capricious.
     But, Stacey uses Echelon's preemptive capabilities to gain much insight into the future. Both liberal and conservative politicians focus narrowly on the media hoopla surrounding  the FBI and NSA spying just on cell phone calls. Call it a "bait and switch" tactic...whatever..because they don't want America to know about the larger, vast surveillance net. I support them, for Echelon provides the West with covert power shaping abilities into world affairs that keep us out of harm's way. OK, now I'll shut up...enjoy my story about Stacey:
     Stacey walked into security clearance at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Md. She differed from the thousands of other highly-trained and indoctrinated Echelon signals intelligence analysts. Immediately, she logged onto her computer terminal and entered a personal code. Her assignment was to hunt down a terrorist, codenamed “radical archer.”
     Britain's MI6 and MI5 learned that he had purchased shoulder-firing missiles that were stolen from a British army unit outside London. British and American intelligence kept their knowledge hush-hush and the citizens of both countries had no idea that these deadly missiles were in terrorist's hands.
     "Radical archer" reportedly had many friends in Tunisia, including black market arms dealers. If knowledge is power, Stacey was about to become the most powerful person in the world. She revved up a mighty program codenamed “Dictionary” and tapped in 4-digit codes for the Tunis, Tunisia locale; people’s names and subject headings; and Internet addresses, telex, cell phone, and fax numbers used by individuals, businesses, government offices and private organizations associated with “radical archer.” She pressed ENTER and connected to a synergistic, global interception and relay espionage system that can deftly pry into private and commercial communications.
     Stacey’s confidential Dictionary program stores the Dictionary lists of other Echelon agencies from around the world. So, if she intercepts a keyword listed on Britain’s Dictionary, her computer would pick out and record the intercept, and send it to Britain’s spy headquarters, and vice versa.
     Ground stations in the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in other nameless locations place their interception systems at each other’s disposal. Using this worldwide network of massive ground-based radio antennae, Stacey effortlessly infiltrated the group of Intel satellites encircling the earth used by telephone companies as well, enabling Stacey to pry into maritime communications off the Tunisian coast. Other keywords entered into Echelon's Dictionary sifted through millions of simultaneous phone calls, fax, and 90% of the world’s private e-mail addresses, filtering out information that could lead to the whereabouts of “radical archer.”
     Stacey tapped in other ground station codes, gaining access to Russian, Indonesian, and Latin American satellites. Amazingly, she intercepted thousands of phone calls to and from Tunisia that were transported by cable under the Mediterranean Sea. Navy Seals secretly installed intercept devices on the cables 300 feet down.  
     Any one and anything that America’s intelligence community is concerned about can be targeted by Echelon. There is no medium of transporting information that cannot be listened to by Stacey. She operates in a legislation-free environment, above the law, and can effortlessly invade family businesses and personal civilian privacy. She’s accountable to no one. Her name, position, and salary remain nameless and traceless and her funding resources are buried deep within the Pentagon’s procurement budget and hide in the stock market under a street name account held by the CIA.
     Suddenly, a red light glowed, signaling a “hit” from the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia where the CIA secretly installed sophisticated microwave receivers and processors. A phone call was intercepted from a hotel in la Goulette, a seaside town on the Mediterranean Sea outside Tunis. The complete, two-way phone conversation was printed out in English translation.
     Then, another hit! Stacey’s heartbeat quickened. Dictionary keywords snatched information from an innocent-looking, red brick building at 8 Palmer Street in downtown London, England. Every telex passing in and out of London is intercepted by Echelon computers operating within the walls of this charming, petite building with Daisy-filled window boxes. Stacey alerted her station chief, who analyzed the intercepts, matching the voice prints and subject matter with intel collected weeks ago from the Fusion Center in Trenton, NJ. CIA counterintelligence agents had been watching a warehouse owner there, who they deemed suspicious.
     Stacey’s new intelligence was passed on to the Trenton Fusion Center, whereupon they determined that the time for surveillance and further intelligence-gathering by HUMINT agents was over…it was time to strike. An hour later, surprised passersby watched as a warehouse in New Jersey was raided by 185 local police and FBI agents, along with dozens of other unidentified men wearing hoods to cover their identities. The shoulder-firing missiles were not found.

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     Simultaneously, cargo ships were boarded and searched by 180 NYPD officers and FBI agents in New York Harbor. Dozens of the faceless soldiers wearing hoods accompanied them as well. The missiles were not there, either. The New Jersey warehouse owner and his brother were taken away in handcuffs.
     A half hour later, halfway around the world, a dozen armed men from the CIA’s Operations Division accompanied the local CIA station chief into the lobby of an unknown hotel in la Goulette, Tunisia. They could recognize “radical archer” by sight and if they captured him, would use enhanced interrogation techniques, if necessary, to find out where the missiles were. 
     Unfortunately for “radical archer,” he made a poor decision by visiting the hotel...they got him! He underestimated the real time, instant communication between ELINT and HUMINT technologies. The period between the time critical intelligence is gathered and when it is acted upon has been reduced to minutes... worldwide, thanks to Echelon. The CIA agents escorted the terrorist out of the hotel, shackled and wearing a hood, and quickly placed him in the cargo space of a large van, with "La Goulette Caterers" printed on the side panels. 
     Fifteen minutes later, "radial archer" divulged the location of the stolen missiles. The CIA agents, along with Tunis Police officials, raided a home on the city's outskirts. The two dozen British Starstreak missiles sealed in their launch tubes were found. All were intact. Each tube was attached to an aiming unit for firing. The terrorists could track the target using the aiming unit's optically stabilized sight, allowing them to compute the precise trajectory to bring the missile together with the targets. Also found in the house were hand-written notes of flight numbers of American and British commercial airliners that fly into the Tunis-Carthage International Airport. 
     Stacey stared at her computer screen and breathed a sigh of relief when the ordeal was over. She wiped the sweat from her brow, arose from the Echelon and Dictionary program computers and walked into a secure lounge in the bowels of the NSA. She poured herself a cup of coffee and watched the TV screens. CNN, FOX and MSNBC broadcast  "Breaking News" that announced the simultaneous raids at the New Jersey warehouse and New York Harbor. No word of the happenings in Tunis, Tunisia was mentioned.
     She sipped coffee and watched the shallow coverage of what happened and thought about the events that the American public would never learn of. She also knew the Department of Homeland Security would shortly release a well-vetted and sanitized press release, concerning the New Jersey and NY Harbor raids, to protect the Intelligence Community's sources and methods. 
     Stacey contemplated her role in the scheme of things and the super-secret work she does... Echelon's worldwide capabilities to spy on everyone’s computers, cell phones, faxes…whatever travels through the airways are swept up like dust off a carpet by a powerful vacuum cleaner. She wondered if the technology could, or would, someday be used for immoral purposes.  
     Oh well, plenty of “what if’s”, she thought. With the proliferation of WMD’s and the vulnerability of our wide open society, Echelon may be Democracy’s only hope. Stacey felt pleased inside at the thought of how many lives were saved by her today. There's some things the general public does not need to know.  
     So, that is Stacey's story. I understand why beltway partisan politics between conservatives and liberals is minimal regarding the recent uncovering of FBI and NSA spying on citizen cell phone usage...and so does Stacey. Compared to's a paltry affair.

Final Note: The European Union made a deal whereby their secret services and spy agencies were enabled to use the Echelon system via the United States espionage service of the FBI and NSA.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online Spy series, "Corey Pearson, CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Reach him on the Secure Contact Form

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The coffin containing the body of CIA agent Johnny "Mike" Spann is carried at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington D.C. Devember 2, 2001
      Over the past several decades, and especially since the terrible tragedy of 9/11, the CIA has been at the forefront of our Nation’s campaign against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations worldwide. The women and men of the CIA have operated around the globe, 24-hours-a-day, working with their U.S. colleagues as well as with foreign partners to prevent terrorist attacks. As a result of these efforts, including the many sacrifices made by CIA officers and their families, countless lives have been saved and our Homeland is more secure.

Journey through the Caribbean Islands in the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean." Beginning complementary episodes sent immediately!

     As part of the CIA’s global effort to dismantle al-Qaeda and to prevent future terrorist attacks, the Agency was directed by President Bush six days after 9/11 to carry out a program to detain terrorist suspects around the world. Certain detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), which the Department of Justice determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration. These techniques, which were last used by the CIA in December 2007, subsequently were prohibited by an Executive Order issued by President Obama when he took office in January 2009.
     Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released a redacted version of the Executive Summary, Findings, and Conclusions of its Study on CIA’s former detention and interrogation program, along with Minority Views and the Additional Views of a number of Committee members on the same subject. The CIA has also released its redacted June 2013 response to the Study, which is being posted on our website,
Each star represents CIA
operatives killed in line of
     As noted in CIA’s response to the study, we acknowledge that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes. The most serious problems occurred early on and stemmed from the fact that the Agency was unprepared and lacked the core competencies required to carry out an unprecedented, worldwide program of detaining and interrogating suspected al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists. In carrying out that program, we did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us. As an Agency, we have learned from these mistakes, which is why my predecessors and I have implemented various remedial measures over the years to address institutional deficiencies.
     Yet, despite common ground with some of the findings of the Committee’s Study, we part ways with the Committee on some key points. Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.
     We also disagree with the Study’s characterization of how CIA briefed the program to the Congress, various entities within the Executive Branch, and the public. While we made mistakes, the record does not support the Study’s inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program.     Moreover, the process undertaken by the Committee when investigating the program provided an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred. As noted in the Minority views and in a number of additional views of Members, no interviews were conducted of any CIA officers involved in the program, which would have provided Members with valuable context and perspective surrounding these events.
     Throughout its 67-year history, CIA has played a critical role keeping our Nation secure, and CIA officers are rightly proud and honored to be part of an organization that is indispensable to our national security. The numerous challenges on the world stage demand the full attention, focus, and capabilities of the women and men of the CIA so that our country can stay strong and our fellow Americans remain safe. To be successful, the CIA needs to work closely with its Congressional oversight committees as we confront these challenges.  With today’s release of Committee documents and the CIA response, we look forward to the way ahead.

Related Posts:

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and publishes the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". His views are his own and do not represent those of any agency he is a member of. We welcome comments and suggestions- contact OSINT News on the Secure Contact Form.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


     I watched a CNN interview on Monday (12/08/14) with Congressman Mike Rogers (Michigan) regarding his displeasure over the release of the CIA Torture Report. I agree with him, and do not believe it was prudent for the Senate Intelligence Committee to approve the release of this report on the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation program. People in foreign countries will be placed in harm's way as soon as it is declassified and subsequently broadcast in the news media.

Note: Click HERE to view the entire Senate Committee Torture Report.

     In addition, despite the current news media reporting and grandstanding machinations by politicians, no new surprises or revelations exist within the document. As a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), I conducted much OSINT research and interviewed several professionals in the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) regarding the CIA's Torture Report, and could not uncover any startling new details about the CIA's detention and interrogation program, nor could I find evidence that the CIA lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about it.
     I do believe, from the very beginning, that our senators were fully aware of the intelligence operations undertaken after 9/11. Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein knew that the CIA created clandestine 'black sites' and used 'enhanced-interrogation techniques' in each of them, even though she has spoken negatively of them.
     I wanted to hear the facts about the EIT program first hand, so last year I planned to travel to Tysons Corner, VA to hear Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr. talk at the Association Of Former Intelligence Officer's (AFIO) Summer Luncheon. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the meeting due to illness; however, I learned much about the presenter, Rodriguez, who is a former CIA National Clandestine Service Director and was the person who, after 9-11, led the U.S. counterterrorism operations and oversaw the highly controversial enhanced interrogation technique (EIT) program, which was created to obtain vital and timely intelligence from terrorists bent on killing as many Americans as possible. He also served the U.S. for twenty-five years as an undercover officer before bringing his wealth of field knowledge to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC).
     Rodriguez was one of America’s top undercover operatives and used “hard measures” to thwart terrorist’s plans that targeted the U.S. In short, he was bent on saving thousands of American lives...lives that Sen. Diane Feinstein and most of our senators and congressmen also thought were in imminent harm's way at the time.
     At the AFIO lecture, that I missed, Rodriguez discussed how the CIA’s undercover operations and tactics were implemented during the George W. Bush presidency, how they were approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government, how they were certified as legal by the Department of Justice, and why they were supported by bipartisan leadership in the congressional intelligence oversight committees. 
     Rodriguez and the CIA have undergone relentless criticism and smear campaign rhetoric. After reading his AFIO Summer Luncheon lecture transcript, conducting personal OSINT research on EIT's, and interviewing several intelligence community professionals, I wonder if the current critics of the EIT program forgot the stark realities of 9/11.
     Neither did they offer sensible alternatives to the program in the post-9/11 chaos, other than inaction or weak responses towards terrorist detainees. The EIT program was, indeed, an appropriate response to the deaths of thousands of innocent victims trapped in the twin-towers, helplessly pinned inside the Pentagon or held hostage on board the commercial airliner that crashed in a rural Pa. countryside.
al-Qaeda leaders were elated over 9/11
     Americans grieved and were anxiety-ridden at the time, for they did not know if future terrorist attacks were in the making! But, as the shock of 9/11 faded, the support that the CIA needed gave way to shortsighted and potentially dangerous political correctness. The tools for effective counterintelligence and counterterrorism was neutralized by lack of funding and ineffective legislation. America's counterintelligence agents were hamstrung, spread thin, overworked, and became subject to ridicule and prosecution…as was Rodriguez himself.

     In his book “Hard Measures”, Rodriguez reflects on the justification for the techniques used and why they were necessary, why they worked, and how, ultimately, they saved American lives and contributed to the capture of the world’s most-wanted terror operatives, including bin Laden.
     Still, he was ostracized by the media. I watched the 60 Minutes program that grilled Jose Rodriguez and concluded it was an unbalanced 'script' skewed heavily by the critics of the CIA's EIT program, including some grandstanding politicians who claimed to be "experts" and unnamed others who stood on the sidelines to lob stones at officials, like Rodriguez, who were in the post-9/11 trenches making tough, real-time national security decisions.
     During the 60 Minutes bashing, he showed no regrets about the CIA using "enhanced interrogation techniques". His interviewer, Leslie Stahl, exhibited intimidating body language, including raised eyebrows. It was quite obvious that she considered EIT’s unnecessary, evil and unbecoming of America. Through her criticism, Stahl tried to make her prejudice plausible, but failed. She drilled Rodriguez about water-boarding and other EIT methods, but he reminded her that they proved essential in getting information from suspected terrorists. He emphasized that high-level detainees like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah provided their best information only after harsh treatment.
CIA Case Officer Rodriguez
     We'll never know how many American lives that CIA Case Officer Rodriguez and the CIA EIT program saved; even those who compiled the Senate Torture Report have no idea, either. I only hope the news media uses much prudence in reporting the details of this document when it is declassified. 

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and publishes the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". His views are his own and do not represent those of any agency he is a member of. We welcome comments and suggestions- contact OSINT News on the Secure Contact Form.

Friday, November 28, 2014


     On December 14, 2014 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) Ohio Chapter is presenting a talk that will interest many WWII buffs. They are hosting Jim Frohlking, who will discuss WWII Resistance Operations.

Jim Frohlking was an Army Air Force fighter pilot during WWII. He flew 56 missions, including 6 over Omaha Beach on D-Day, in P-38's and P-51's. He was hit by flack on his 56th mission and bailed out over Holland into water. Jim was picked up by a Dutch fishing boat and delivered to the Dutch resistance, who eventually got him back to the Allied lines. His talk will be about his experiences with the resistance and return to the Allies.
      Location: Through the courtesy of AFIO Ohio chapter member Greg Moore and Notre Dame College, the presentation will be in the Great Room on the 3rd floor of the Administration Building at Notre Dame College, 4545 College Rd., South Euclid, Ohio 44121. The Great Room is located at the east end of the 3rd floor and is clearly marked.
     There will be a deli tray and coffee.

     How to register: If you are not a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, you may attend as my guest. Let me know before December 6th if you'd like to attend: go to the OSINT News site and contact me on the Secure Contact Form in the right margin and I can register you as a guest of mine. I will meet you at the presentation and make sure you get in to hear  Jim Frohlking's presentation.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and publishes the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". His views are his own and do not represent those of any agency he is a member of. We welcome comments and suggestions- contact OSINT News on the Secure Contact Form.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I donated $75 to the Freedom Fighters
     Just in from the Ass. Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) Weekly Intelligence News (WIN)! Were you involved in the President Reagan era scandal called the "Iran-Contra Affair"? Did you ever wonder about what really happened during that ordeal? 
     You can find out much of the details on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 from 12:00pm- 7:00pm in Washington DC. A seminar entitled, "Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power" will be presented by author Malcolm Byrne at the International Spy Museum.
     Through exhaustive use of declassified documents, previously unavailable investigative materials, and wide-ranging interviews, Malcolm Byrne will discuss what made the Iran-Contra scandal possible and meticulously relate how it unfolded—including clarifying minor myths about cakes, keys, bibles, diversion memos, and shredding parties.

     Byrne, the Deputy Director and Research Director at the National Security Archive, will demonstrate that the affair could not have occurred without awareness and approval at the top levels of the US government. He will also reveal an unmistakable pattern of dubious behavior—including potentially illegal conduct by the president, vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, the CIA director and others—that formed the true core of the scandal.
     The presentation is Free and no registration is required.  Visit the International Spy Museum Website to find out more.  
     The Iran–Contra affair was also known as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran-Contra scandal and occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. In a nutshell, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, despite an on-going arms embargo. It was hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of several hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
     Quite frankly, I thought the Boland Amendment sucked and I illegally donated $75 of my hard-earned money to a cause supporting the Nicaraguan Contras...."freedom fighters" as I called them at the time.
     The Iran-Contra affair  began as an operation to free the seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the U.S. would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.
     Lastly, here's the complete Final Report Of The Independent Counsel For Iran/Contra Matters report, dated August 4, 1993 in Washington, D.C. from the UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and publishes the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". His views are his own and do not represent those of any agency he is a member of. We welcome comments and suggestions- contact OSINT News on the Secure Contact Form.